Migraine can be defined as a paroxysmal ailment, accompanied by a severe headache, generally on one side of the head, and associated with disorders of the digestion, the liver, and the vision. It usually occurs when a person is under great mental tension or has suddenly got over that state.
Persons who suffer from this disease have a particular type of personality. They are intelligent, sensitive, rigid, and methodical, and tend to be perfectionists. A migraine comes on suddenly. The head and neck muscles, reacting from continuous stress, become overworked. The tight muscles squeeze the arteries and reduce the blood flow. Then, when the person relaxes suddenly, the constricted muscles expand, stretching the blood vessel walls. With each heart beat, the blood pushes through these vessels and expands them further, causing intense pain.
Causes and Symptoms
There is a definite pattern of a migraine. The pain is on only one side of the head and often radiates from the eye. The right side of the head may be affected in one attack and the next time, the concentration of pain may be on the left side. Migraine attacks are usually preceded by a short period of depression, irritability, and loss of appetite. Some persons get attacks daily; others, every month or every two or three months; and still others, only once or twice in several years.
The main symptoms of migraine are a pounding pain, nausea, and vomiting. The blood vessels on the affected side of the head become prominent and pulsating. A migraine gives a fair warning before striking. The patient sees flashes of light or black spots or only parts of the objects in front of him. He may also feel
numbness or weakness in an arm or leg, or on one side of the face. Sometimes the numbness may affect both sides of the face, tongue, and the entire mouth, making the speech slurred and difficult As the headache develops, disturbed digestion becomes a marked feature.
Migraine may result from a variety of causes such as low blood sugar, allergy, infection, excessive intake of certain drugs, a weak constitution, low energy, nutritional deficiency, consistent overwork, improper sleep and rest, excessive smoking, drinking, and sexual indulgence. Menstruation in women is also one of the important causes of migraine. This form of migraine usually abates after menopause.
Grapes: The juice of ripe grapes is an effective home remedy for a migraine. It is said that Kingjamshed of Persia, who was very fond of grapes, once stored the juice of grapes well packed in bottles and made it public that the bottles contained strong poison, so as to prevent others from taking it. It so happened that the king’s wife was struck with migraine and having obtained no relief from any treatment, decided to end her life by taking this so-called ‘poison’. She took it several times in small doses and contrary to her expectations, it gave her great relief instead of killing her.
Niacin: Niacin has proved helpful in the treatment of migraine. Valuable sources of this vitamin are yeast, whole wheat, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, nuts, sunflower seeds, liver, and fish. Vitamin B complex tablets containing 100 mg of niacin can be taken for the same purpose.
Cabbage Leaf Compress: An ancient folk remedy for easing the pain of migraine is a cabbage leaf compress. A few leaves of the vegetable should be crushed, and then placed in a cloth and bound on the forehead at bedtime, or when convenient ‘hiring the day. The compress should be renewed when the leaves ‘dry out.
Lemon Crust: The crusts of lemon have also been found beneficial in the treatment’ of migraine. These crusts should be Pounded into a fine paste in a mortar. The paste should be applied a plaster on the forehead. It will provide great relief.
Vegetable Juices: Carrot juice, in combination with spinach juice, or beet and cucumber juices, has been found beneficial in e treatment of migraine. In the first combination, 200 ml of spinach juice may be mixed with 300 ml of carrot juice to prepare 500 ml or half a litre of the combined juices. In the second combination, 100 ml each of beet and cucumber juices may be mixed with 300 ml of carrot juice.
It is essential to undertake a thorough cleansing of the system and adopt vitality-building measures. To begin with, the patient should resort to fasting on orange juice and water for two or three days. If the orange juice does not agree with the patient, juices of vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, and celery may be taken. After the short juice fast, the patient may adopt an all-fruit diet for about five days, taking three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits. Thereafter the patient should follow a well-balanced diet consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits. This diet should be supplemented with milk, yoghurt, buttermilk, vegetable oils, and honey. Further short periods of the all-fruit diet may be necessary at intervals of a month or two, according to the requirement of the case.
Foods which should be avoided are white flour products, sugar, confectionery, rich cakes, pastries, sweets, refined cereals, greasy foods, tinned or preserved foods, pickles, condiments, and sauces. The patient should eat frequent small meals rather than a few large ones. Overeating should be avoided. Copious drinking of water is recommended.
During the initial two or three days of the juice fast, a warm- water enema may be taken daily to cleanse the bowels. A hot foot bath, fomentation over the stomach and spine, cold compresses (4.5°C to 15.6°C) applied to the head, and towels wrung out of very hot water and frequently applied to the neck will go a long way in relieving migraine headaches. The patient should also take plenty of exercise and walk in the fresh air.